Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. It is a progressive autoimmune disease which targets a patient’s neurological system. To date, drugs designed to slow the progression of this debilitating disease have not lived up to their promise.
As an alternative to medications, a patient’s faulty immune system can be eradicated by chemotherapy and then reset by the same patient’s Blood Stem Cells. This treatment is referred to as “Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation” (AHSCT). In a study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology the authors reviewed data from 281 patients who underwent AHSCT for MS between 1995 to 2006. Most of the patients included in the study had aggressive forms of MS. The study authors led by Dr. Paolo Muraro of the Imperial College of London specifically examined the rate of patient survival and lack of disease progression.
The study results showed a mortality of 2.8%, however almost half (46%) of the patients did not show progression of their symptoms from Multiple Sclerosis. The authors believe the results to be very encouraging and call for further larger scale clinical trials using AHSCT for MS.
1. Paolo A. Muraro, MD et al. Long-term Outcomes After Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Multiple Sclerosis. JAMA Neurol., February 2017 DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.5867